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Old 2 Days Ago   #221
Ash
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I was going to go into more detail with my post, but... after (not) a lotta thought, I found that I cared a lot less about this than younger me might wish I would, lol

I'm going to try to make this as short as possible. (god I hope it's short)

Disclaimer: A LOT OF THIS HAPPENED LONG ENOUGH AGO FOR ME TO NOT HAVE SCREENSHOTS OR RECEIPTS OF EVERY EVENT. Additionally, not all of this post is about my experience alone. I am an old man. Please take it with a grain of salt. If you personally are aware of these situations and have your own screens for these, please feel free DM me and I'll edit this post.


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I first encountered Mystic on this forum around 17 years ago. I was 10 years old. About a year into it, I tried to make a mod without understanding what that actually means.

Here is the thread from 2004: https://mb.srb2.org/showthread.php?t=16361
(please go easy on me; I hadn't even encountered puberty yet)

This is extraordinarily cringe for me. I wasn't equipped to handle a whole-ass mod alone, obviously, so I did the "recruiting" taboo and tried to create a team.

(During this time, I was using SRB2 to escape from some pretty serious abuse from my parents who were both divorcing at the time (with me as the scapegoat). I'm fine now.)

Unfortunately, though I had picked up a lot of skills to actually make the mod happen—this was around when I started learning web dev and other technical skills—I was put on a schedule to do hard releases, because I had set a release date. Naturally, since I was 11 years old here, I couldn't keep to a hard deadline for something like this. I could barely handle getting homework done on time, lmao.

Mystic demanded I make the release or get banned, and I couldn't. I had a breakdown, and I was banned.


(I was 11.)

This experience is shockingly similar to a lot of other people's on here—children were pushed to produce content. Anything that wasn't tangible production was just kinda locked and removed. People operated on "I can't share this if I can't release it". If they happened to be able to produce and their content was *good*, they were poached and put on dev to get straight to work on the game.

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Shortly after, I was groomed by a person on staff whom I need not mention. A friend of mine tried to report this behavior, but it was ignored by Mystic, and they continued to develop content for the game, ending their tenure after having implemented the core of LUA support.

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I hopped around for while, but eventually came back. I started contributing on this account as a young teen (like, 13/14?) and had a pretty... normal time? Mystic still had an issue with me though, despite most people actually not caring much. I was doing college prep then, but the modding scene kept me back—this is what motivates most people back, I think.

It was around this time the atmosphere was beginning to become the most stifling, with users being banned for not capitalizing their I's or not having perfect grammar. Lots of bullying of ESL (Engish as a Second Language) users and frivolous bans, like this one:


(During this time, there was no infraction system. 1st ban was 3-day, 2nd was 1 week, 3rd was permanent no matter what the previous bans were for. Imagine being banned for not capitalizing the letter "i" once, and being close to a permanent ban because of it, lol)

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Eventually I was "Permabanned (For The Lulz)" with the ban reason "I don't need a reason to ban you." by Mystic. I looked, but I wasn't able to find a screenshot. It may have been the original ban on this account, but I no longer have access.

This is the source of the "Permabanned (For The Lulz)" title if you've seen it before. You can see it used in this video created by Sonict: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LdTNZ4Y2ZsQ

Staff spread rumors about me involving this ban, which is where most of my weird notoriety comes from. People from back then might remember me being a "hacker" or some other crazy nonsense, but all of that was bullshit. (More on this later.)

Don't get me wrong: I was a little dick emulating that uppity sort of pompous behavior everyone had on here, but all in all, my ban was the result of a grudge I never fully understood. It was always something that was going to happen, whether or not I broke any rules.

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Sometime in the middle of this was the creation of the #SRB2Fun forums, which firmly divided the community into "elite" and "plebian". I wasn't around for a lot of this, but I would encourage people to prod oldbies here for insight on how *not* to run a community. This is where a lot of bullying and gossip took place with membership being invite-only.

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My account, with me not on it, was used for SRB2's 2008 April Fools' Day event, "Rainbow Unicorn Blast 2".

This was the avatar they gave me:

(An image of the full account, here)

This was confirmed by Spazzo:

(Other people have taken a screenshot of this, as well as saved a direct link to the message in case it gets deleted.)

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Sometime during the middle of this, Prime (who was also removed) attempted to dox me and one other user (who has also returned due to this news). He wasn't successful.

(I DO NOT HAVE A SCREENSHOT OF ME CONFRONTING HIM ABOUT THIS. Please, again, take this with a grain of salt.)

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On "hacking": some years later, a former dev asked if they could use my name to troll the Master Server with their clientless EXE. I already had this reputation for some reason, and I didn't care much, so I said they could do whatever they wanted because I really wouldn't be able to stop them regardless. They had left dev and created this hack because they were burned by Mystic and company, and trusted me enough to not share their name. Some people might know who it is, but I won't be sharing their name here.

It had the ability to join games without a join message and execute all admin commands. Other versions of it had a triggerbot aimhack system, wallhack, and uh... more.

Link to "hacking" example: https://youtu.be/FLJudrzMp10 (please feel free to remove if not allowed—this is defunct and no longer exists)

I believe when this dev left, progress was halted for a while.

This is similar to the situation with Graue (a441) who did a massive chunk of the programming for 1.08 -> 1.09's transition, who left due to Mystic being upset at the slow progress on their attempt to completely rewrite the netcode (IIRC—feel free to correct me).


Link to post: https://mb.srb2.org/showpost.php?p=685995&postcount=11

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When I was removed for no reason, I fucked around with SRB2 a little bit on an alternate account, but mostly moved on, because I was about to be starting my undergrad. I didn't really have a motivation to stick around and make maps, because people saw me as a literal demon (lol) and I had other stuff going on.


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My closure:

I'd ping Mystic on Esper every couple of years ago just to bug him. I think sometime in 2012/13 he responded to me. He was depressed and talked to me a bit about how his life was not going very well. At the time, my life was going VERY well (I had just won a massive competitive scholarship in my field of study), so I just gloated. I told him that how he felt about how other people perceived him was a result of his own behavior, and I had never felt a desire to hop on IRC ever since.


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Fastforward to now, and I'm poking my lil nose around, aged, feeling kinship through other people's awful experiences dealing with Mystic. It's very warming to know that I wasn't alone. I hope that those who knew me can forgive my awful know-it-all behavior back then, as I've already forgiven them for whatever silly junk they may have done 10+ years ago.

It's weird, but as I was writing this, I started to realize that even just the name "Mystic" meant more to me as a League of Legends LCK player than as the Mystic I know here. I honest to god havent thought about SRB2 in so long; most of my recent exposure has been SRB2Kart (which is a testament to what this game *could* be without the influence of a NEET "creative director") and SMS Reborn.

I appreciate this thread being allowed to be kept open, as a lot of people needed this to be able to heal. Hopefully, with time, we can move on and forget him, like I had gotten close to doing completely.

The amount of raw, creative potential energy this community has is like nothing I've ever experienced anywhere else online, and it's all executed thanklessly. An alternate reality SRB2 without this massive fog of toxicity drowning it was something I could only *dream* of as a dumb little kid. You all have the chance to make this a reality right now.

The bullies are gone. Make a good future.

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Despite the garbage I had to deal with as a youngster who just wanted to make levels and junk, I really do hope Mystic gets his stuff together. I think, for the longest time, he was just envious of what other people could do (while simultaneously relishing in the power he had over these creatives), and reveled in his power over literal children. Hope he can find help. Hope he can find peace.

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As for me, I went to a crazy music school, won a lot of money, came out of the closet, won some more money, wrote a lot of music, taught for a while, got bored, and now do full-stack software development. Truthfully, getting banned back then was one of the best things that could've happened for me and the course of my own life.

If you have any questions for me or about any of the above, I encourage you to contact me either on here or on Discord (which can be found on my profile)—I'm actually pretty approachable (I hope) and absolutely do not mind random people hitting me up.

I might make a couple maps for 2.2 and do some Lua, since it seems easy and pretty fun to do nowadays. Slopes didn't exist when I played, so I'm THRILLED to mess with them. Not sure how long I'll stick around, though, as my era of SRB2 has long been gone, and I had moved on so long ago.

Until then.

Last edited by Ash; 2 Days Ago at 01:49 AM. Reason: some tweaks
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Old 2 Days Ago   #222
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Originally Posted by Chimera View Post
I wouldn’t be working where I am now without the creative outlet of SRB2.
This stood out to me.

As I write this, I am almost a licensed architect. I went into architecture school, graduated, got a job, and now I'm working a good job that I love.

(It turns out that architecture is a technical job not a design-oriented job, which is fine because I'm actually a rather technically-minded person. But that's a story for somewhere else.)

That story -- people coming in young, building skill because of the low barrier to creating content, and growing into a particular field -- is one of the coolest things about this community.

I am really, really glad for the time that I spent here as a teenager. I don't know how many other people have experiences quite that dramatic with SRB2, but I'm glad this space still exists, and that other users still have that chance.
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Old 2 Days Ago   #223
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Jeez, the more I read, the more I feel like an oddball for not having a story to tell about Mystic. All this stuff sounds so horrible, I don't even know what to say as someone relatively new to this community. I'm personally very excited for new people to discover this game and join its vibrant community, now that the atmosphere is so much more friendly and welcoming than ever before.
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Old 2 Days Ago   #224
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Originally Posted by Ash View Post
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Sometime during the middle of this, Prime (who was also removed) attempted to dox me and one other user (who has also returned due to this news). He wasn't successful.

(I DO NOT HAVE A SCREENSHOT OF ME CONFRONTING HIM ABOUT THIS. Please, again, take this with a grain of salt.)

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What the fuck? Prime tried to dox you? As in, try to get as much info on you as possible? I thought he was a rather reasonable guy but holy shit. That's just fucking messed up.
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Old 2 Days Ago   #225
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Originally Posted by Radicalicious View Post
[post]
back in #fireflame_network on esper. he was very nasty to me and i never really understood why.

but in the interest of *not* perpetuating callouts with no evidence, i would appreciate if you, again, take this with a grain of salt (i did not save screenshots of any of my convos back then as i'd completely moved on at this point), although it did happen to me and someone else. if this person would like to come forward about it they may, but that's not up to me and i respect their privacy
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Old 2 Days Ago   #226
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Jeez, the more I read, the more I feel like an oddball for not having a story to tell about Mystic.
Don't worry about it. I'm been around since... 2007(?) or so, and I'm even the first person to have replied to this thread, and yet I have literally nothing to say here.

I'm really happy for everyone who does, though. This all feels very cathartic. A thread like this could have turned out so much worse, but generally everyone is being very mature and clear. It warms my heart in a way, despite the subject matter.
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Old 2 Days Ago   #227
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With all these oldbies coming back, giving their perspective, and expressing their gratitude in reaction to Mystic's removal, it feels like a new era of SRB2 is about to open up.

I too welcome our new srb2 overlords :v
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Old 2 Days Ago   #228
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Originally Posted by Unknownlight View Post
Don't worry about it. I'm been around since... 2007(?) or so, and I'm even the first person to have replied to this thread, and yet I have literally nothing to say here.

I'm really happy for everyone who does, though. This all feels very cathartic. A thread like this could have turned out so much worse, but generally everyone is being very mature and clear. It warms my heart in a way, despite the subject matter.
Heated arguments are overrated anyway. Isn't it better to talk like civil people for a change?
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Old 2 Days Ago   #229
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My experiences aren't as bad as others, but I've had my own run ins with Mystic, and the other staff a few times, though I doubt anyone here remembers me. I joined Srb2 back when 1.08 came out I was either 12 or 13 at the time as you can imagine being a teenager who wasn't very good at grammar I didn't survive long in #Srb2fun.

A few kicks and a ban later on irc and I eventually joined #Blaze which at the time was basically a home for people banned from #Srb2fun for various reasons. I went by the name of Lloyd there on irc. I pretty much only chatted in #Blaze, for a long time, until I eventually tried to get better at grammar and joined the MB. It didn't take long at all to get an infraction even though I was hoping I improved to an "acceptable level."

I don't remember the exact wording, because I was upset, and deleted the PM shortly after getting it, then I just avoided posting on the MB anywhere near as much. It was something of "You've received an infraction for your sub par grammar which is not up to our standards."

I never really understood why a community for a Sonic fangame of all things was so harsh to kids and new members at the time. Grammar is something that's never properly clicked with my brain no matter how much time I spent on it and I still think my grammar is terrible to this day. It's just not something I understand easily and I can't explain why. My experiences are nowhere near as bad as what happened to other users here but it still killed a lot of my motivation when I was younger.

I actually only recently regained access to my mb account since I was finally able to recover my ancient email address.

The atmosphere here definitely feels different than before, so I think I want to start stopping by again now.
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Old 2 Days Ago   #230
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Originally Posted by D00D64 View Post
So I'd also like to give my two cents on the matter, but excuse me if this sounds more like I'm talking about myself as opposed to Mystic and his ilk.

Back in the day, I was a lot like this kinds of jerks. Shitting on kids and their "awful" projects, being toxic and outright abrasive to others; even my own friends, but especially newcomers. Couple that with me being a teenager and then you also have "edgy" """humor""" in there too. I even made a whole Youtube series about making fun of awful Sonic-related videos, of which I have completely purged by now.

I was brought up in a pretty nasty way by the communities I used to frequent, but the old IRC channel, #srb2fun, was the place I spent the most of my time, and the place where I was influenced the most. I was heavily molded by Mystic and the others of the community at the time, and in turn, I shaped others into that mentality as well (or at least the ones that bothered to stick around). It was a very "Jerk or be Jerked" kinda place, but we'd also be jerks to eachother, so either you had the ironskin to handle it, or you just pretend that you do, which is what I imagine most of us did.

I'm... not quite sure how it happened, maybe it was just gradual, but I've eventually stopped being as nearly as much of the ass that I used to be. I've come to look back and regret a lot of the things I said. I've tried apologizing to some of the people I've hurt years ago. I've cleared out a lot of the old "edgy" content I used to make. At some point, I did grow up and take responsibility, and now, after all those jokes in IRC on how "I should totally be judge", now I'm a moderator.
Highly relatable. I LOVED being an edgelord. I don't feel I have anything to apologize for because I'm not a malicious person, I never got personal and I was only ever out to make people laugh, but I realized pretty quickly that a PHPBB forum where I have all the time in the world to craft the coolest post in the room was a perfect outlet for an extremely unpopular teenager to blow off some steam and reaffirm his self-esteem at the expense of others. It helped me to develop a personality and some confidence, which was valuable. The next step was to convince people to actually like me, which wasn't compatible. I'd already poisoned the well by then and needed a fresh start elsewhere. Big thanks to Mystic for giving me the push I needed to bail on the community and reinvent myself- it's a shame no one had the authority to extend him that same courtesy until now. He definitely wasn't happy here.

Under Mystic, SRB2 was the last bastion of the Sonic Cult Boys Club cynicism that every other community has since outgrown. They've all shed their asshole mods- Pachuka, Psyguy, Green Gibbon!, Tweaker, Roarey, et al. It's a time I'm nostalgic for because I love a good rogue, but I have no need for a "mature" community because the people I knew from that time all grew up with me, and we have our own social spheres that don't overlap with a children's property and don't require constant cultural maintenance via browbeating. It's simpler and more fun because we only have to talk about games that we actually enjoy. Sonic is a precious thing to a lot of people and it's fucked up that the road to enjoying Sonic has always been imperiled with gatekeepers and predators.

A eulogy for Mystic, specifically: He was definitely something of a childhood role model. Explained to me that atheism was a tenable worldview that I didn't have to lose sleep over, shaped my initial political beliefs (I'll never forget his assertion that "every war ever fought was fought over money or religion") and demonstrated the art of wielding rational thought as a cudgel with which to maim. He was the best match player for several years, playing with him and challenging his time attack records accounted for a good chunk of my fun with the game. I'll never forget how we tied down to the millisecond on AGZ2 despite taking two separate routes. Since we seem to be forgetting already, Mystic Realm was a watershed moment for modding that rivaled the main game for length, content and quality at that time. Standards have shifted dramatically, but those maps still have a strong structure and an incredible flow that's hard to replicate, and it STILL stands as the most complete expansion to date. Don't let it die. Generally speaking, I believe strongly in divorcing the art from the artist, and would argue that creation is the best possible use of a problematic person's time, and should be encouraged insofar as it keeps them occupied from doing whatever it is you can't stand. People probably wouldn't be quite so mad right now if he'd kept on creating. Because I never had the pleasure of working with him, I'll remember him fondly.
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Old 2 Days Ago   #231
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Reading through this thread for the past few days has left me in a mood I'm not sure I can describe. I'll just go ahead and put my own thoughts out there...

I discovered SRB2 as a pretty young kid during the late final demo days but didn't start interacting with the community until a few years later mainly due to the language barrier. Seeing how most people's first interactions turned out, that may have been some good luck on my side. Thanks to that, I've never really been the target of mockery and bashing by the big names of the community and from all the lurking around I did around the forum during those years, I came to develop quite the admiration for those people. To me, they were the serious, mature and super talented guys behind the game that I loved so much and they definitely influenced how I came to approach discussion on the internet and even some of my interests. By the time I started dipping my toes into real involvement (a couple of years into 2.0), the mood around the community had mellowed out a bit and having met fans of the game who used a language I was much more confortable with, my interaction with the broader community stayed fairly limited. As such the relatively recent T-word incident was basically the first time I witnessed controversy surrounding Mystic and it all culminated into what we have today with all these people (some I looked up to in the same way I looked up to Mystic) revealing the problems he caused.

All of that to say that even as someone who has only interacted with him on very few random and forgettable occasions over the years, Mystic and the kind of community he cultivated around SRB2 years back have greatly influenced me. It is disappointing to see how toxic his presence really was.

But in the end, the fact that so many of the people that will be leading the game forward have denounced his actions and apologized for ever being part of the problem makes me very hopeful that this kind of negative influence will be kept in check and quickly handled before instilling itself into the community again and with the overwhelming talent in game design they've already displayed with 2.2, I can only see a brighter future ahead of us.
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Old 2 Days Ago   #232
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I would like to state for the record that this ‘team member’ that groomed Ash was NOT a team member during my tenure, and I actively kept him distant from such despite a large majority of members AND the community constantly praising this person.

I also did not want Prime on the team, and he was added late in my time without permission. But we’re alright now.

Ash isn’t as clean and pure as the wind-driven snow either, but this doesn’t sound like what it means, as Mystic triggered a lot of people to do things they otherwise wouldn’t have.

More later.
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Old 2 Days Ago   #233
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Originally Posted by SSNTails View Post
I would like to state for the record that this ‘team member’ that groomed Ash was NOT a team member during my tenure, and I actively kept him distant from such despite a large majority of members AND the community constantly praising this person.

I also did not want Prime on the team, and he was added late in my time without permission. But we’re alright now.

Ash isn’t as clean and pure as the wind-driven snow either, but this doesn’t sound like what it means, as Mystic triggered a lot of people to do things they otherwise wouldn’t have.

More later.
The regret must've been real for you, my man...
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Old 2 Days Ago   #234
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Under Mystic, SRB2 was the last bastion of the Sonic Cult Boys Club cynicism that every other community has since outgrown.
This is a better summary in one sentence than a lot of this thread has given out in 12 pages. Nice.


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Since we seem to be forgetting already, Mystic Realm was a watershed moment for modding that rivaled the main game for length, content and quality at that time. [...] Generally speaking, I believe strongly in divorcing the art from the artist, and would argue that creation is the best possible use of a problematic person's time, and should be encouraged insofar as it keeps them occupied from doing whatever it is you can't stand. People probably wouldn't be quite so mad right now if he'd kept on creating.
It's hard for me to divorce Mystic from his work when, at the same time he was creating it, he was actively flaming other budding content creators, many of whom were clueless minors who just needed some help. This was before there was a proper Wiki, too, so resources weren't as easy to come by.
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Old 2 Days Ago   #235
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I agree that it's hard to divorce mystic from his work, especially when his name is in his work.
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Old 2 Days Ago   #236
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Originally Posted by Cyan Ryan View Post
It's hard for me to divorce Mystic from his work when, at the same time he was creating it, he was actively flaming other budding content creators, many of whom were clueless minors who just needed some help. This was before there was a proper Wiki, too, so resources weren't as easy to come by.
With the caveat that I stopped paying attention in 2010, I personally never saw him do this. He didn't suffer fools who had no clue or willingness to improve, but he gave great constructive criticism. I remember he (I think it was him) wrote a guide to map design that was pretty formative in getting me to think about some of the abstract tensions that make up good level design like spacing, shape language and object placement- extremely helpful advice that's still hard to come by for gamedev in general. Anyone know where to find that?
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Old 2 Days Ago   #237
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With the caveat that I stopped paying attention in 2010, I personally never saw him do this. He didn't suffer fools who had no clue or willingness to improve, but he gave great constructive criticism. I remember he (I think it was him) wrote a guide to map design that was pretty formative in getting me to think about some of the abstract tensions that make up good level design like spacing, shape language and object placement- extremely helpful advice that's still hard to come by for gamedev in general. Anyone know where to find that?
He only gave constructive criticism to content he actually liked. If he disagreed with the design or concept, it was very easy for him to devolve into straight up flaming. He considered himself the quality police, and it was especially evident even recently when he threatened to organize a review bomb if SMS got released on the MB. It's good that you were able to get something out of his feedback, but many other people were just demotivated as a result of it, and some quit trying altogether.
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Old 2 Days Ago   #238
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I agree that it's hard to divorce mystic from his work, especially when his name is in his work.
I hear his Aerial Garden and Azure Temple zones (in-game versions) are in dire need of a major update to 2.2's standards and features (as they don't even use slopes). This wouldn't completely divorce them from Mystic, but they would no longer feel like something straight from his mod.

Someone could organize an effort to update them and give the community a strong claim to them like many of the other zones (as I don't believe the themes have suddenly become a bad thing).
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Old 2 Days Ago   #239
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The only help I remember him giving me was helping with locating SRB2 2k3 for coverage in SRB2 the Past.

Only other things I can remember was how he locked my SRB2 Xmas 2010 Megamaix topic, demanded the removal of Sonic doom 2 from SRB2 the Past (the hall to it was just walled off while the levels were removed), and him either coming up with or just using the term "Glaber Syndrome"

Also do those stages really needs slopes? Just because we have them now doesn't mean they're needed everywhere as long as the level is still good.
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Old 2 Days Ago   #240
Monster Iestyn
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ritz View Post
I remember he (I think it was him) wrote a guide to map design that was pretty formative in getting me to think about some of the abstract tensions that make up good level design like spacing, shape language and object placement- extremely helpful advice that's still hard to come by for gamedev in general. Anyone know where to find that?
Possibly "Level Design 101" on the wiki? https://wiki.srb2.org/wiki/Level_Design_101

I don't know how much of it you could say is actually written by him, but he definitely contributed to it many years back.
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